When I print my shirt, my image seems to be a little blurry.

When I print my shirt, my image seems to be a little blurry.

Registering Your Print

Registering Your Print

Again this can be caused by a number of things: Are the screens tight in their clamps and the micro registration tightened? As you print the force will alter your screen’s position on the print surface. So, if the clamps holding your screens are loose then your print will be out of registration. This would especially be true on 1 colour prints.

Are the platens secured to the press and have you applied a good amount of tak to hold the garment in place. If you are using a flash, and after your second pull or colour it is burring, then the flash could be shrinking the shirt, thus distorting your print. Also if you flash for two long between colours you will start to cure the ink which can result in blurred / poor print quality.

Has your screen mesh lost it tightness? The screen needs to be tight so that your image is tight. Time to restretch.

Is your mesh count and squeegee right? It can be surprising how much of a difference this can make when printing.

via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.

What heat press should I buy?

WPS 4000 Heat Transfer Press Product Ref: QR1283

What heat press should I buy?

A common question but the answer is rarely straight forward as there are many factors to consider.

What is a heat press.

A heat press is a machine engineered to imprint a design or graphic on a substrate, such as a t-shirt, with the application of heat and pressure for a preset period of time.

Where does it fit in the process.

1, Choose an image to put on a product like a t-shirt
2. Print onto heat transfer paper
3. Lay the image on your t shirt
4. Use a heat press to transfer the image on the t shirt.

Which heat press should you buy

What are you going to use it for?  Garments (T Shirts, Hoodies, Caps), promotional items (mouse maps, phone cases etc) , DTG preparation and curing, sublimation, Vinyl, Plastisol transfers etc   Heat Presses are involved in all of these process however there are a few areas to consider before parting with your money

So here are some of our views …
Accurate Heat – to get the best results a heat press needs to maintain accurate and consistent heat across the platen. Too little heat may not activate the adhesives to fully fix the graphic to the garment, too much heat can affect the graphic quality, reducing opacity or not giving an even cure.

Digital control – needed to ensure you have accurate temperature you don’t want fluctuating temperatures, you need accurate timings and therefore consistent results. Many digital controllers come with timers and safety features such as auto shutdown and alarms.

Even pressure – uneven pressure will lead to poor adhesion and inconsistent curing of ink therefore always choose a press which you can adjust and set for different thickness of substrates.   Some presses have pressure gauges which are ideal for ensuring consistent results.

Size of the Heat Press – there are many sizes to choose from and a key question to ask when buying a press is ‘What is the largest size of garment / substrate will I be using?’ It normally makes good sense to buy a press that can accommodate future needs.  It’s also easier to align garments on a larger press. Some presses come with interchangeable platens which gives you much more flexibility.

WPS 4500 Sport Heat Transfer Press Product Ref: QR1279

Clam or swing away?

  • A clam has a smaller footprint, when using a swing away you need to give space for the swing which on the bigger units can be quite significant
  • A clam is typically less expensive than a swing away and less moving parts
  • It is easier to see what is going on with a clam, if a garment has gone out of alignment you can do something about it
  • Clam presses are typically more portable
  • Swing aways different from a clam with the heating element lifting up parallel and swings completely out of the way.
  • It is often stated that with a clam press to increase the chances of burned knuckles with the clam however with a swing away it is just as easy to get the fingers in the way. Quality clam presses open wide enough to reduce the chance of accidents.
  • Swing aways are often more popular with DTG printers but you can also use a Clam
  • Swings aways typically can be set to give more pressure than a clam, we have found that some transfer papers don’t work well on clams
  • You can debate this but it really does come back to personal preference and budget.  The simple answer is choose the press that suits your needs.

Budget – always choose a press with a lifetime heater warranty, with CE certification (real Certification (beware some of the cheap China imports are not made with high quality components and may not be actually certified compared to European / US presses). It’s better to buy the right equipment first time out rather than the cheapest – quality equipment is designed to last years with warranty backup if there is a problem. You will often find broken low quality heat presses lurking in the back of many print shops.  If your business is reliant on the equipment then consider the impact of the heat press breaking.

If you have questions at all please contact us to discuss your requirements

Squeegees

Pack Of 4 Wooden Squeegees With Square Cut Blade - 12 Inch The squeegee is the tool used to push the ink through the mesh onto the substrate (whatever you are printing on) and whilst it might seem an unimportant thing compared to components of the screen printing process don’t be deceived by its simple appearance. The wrong squeegee or a damaged one can cost you in ruined printing.

So what does a squeegee do

  • Bring the screen and substrate together
  • Push ink through the open design areas
  • Shear the ink
  • Remove excess ink
  • Control the release rate

Quite a lot of work for a humble looking piece of kit

Did you know squeegees have different bendibilty or hardness and this has a proper technical name with standards. Known as durometer or shore. You need different degrees depending on your ink. If your ink is a specialised one that requires more force to get it through the mesh, metallic ones are candidates, then you need a harder squeegee.

Factors Squeegee
Irregular/Rough Substrate Softer
Coarse Mesh Softer
Smooth Substrate Harder
Fine Mesh Harder
UV Ink Harder
Solvent Based Ink Harder
High Speed Automotic Process Harder
Light on dark/more ink coverage required Softer
Specialist Ink Harder

 

The squeegee must be undamaged and sharp because it actually has to ‘cut’ or shear the ink otherwise the ink is smeared. So proper maintenance is important, cleaning them after use is very important. You can tell if a squeegee needs replacing or sharpening by the ink left on the screen. There should not be any! Certain inks like solvent based or UV inks do damage the squeegee over time and again this effects the sharpness of the print. Squeegees can be sharpened.

‘D’ Cut Squeegees are used for T-Shirt and textile printing, the tapered edge allows maximum ink deposit onto your garment. They are also ideal for plastisol ink when printing light on dark. Square edge blade allows for lesser deposit of ink and is used widely on higher mesh counts and finer prints. There are other shapes but these are only relevant to industrial use like printed circuit boards, adhesive and paste. If you want to know more about the science of squeegees have a look here http://www.gwent.org/gem_screen_printing.html

Aluminimum is more expensive than wooden but lasts longer.

So our mantra is the right squeegee for the right job, Check out our range and please don’t hesitate to get in touch for an explanation or advice on which squeegee to buy. Our staff are always ready to help and as Oli says “When the sunlight enters my room every morning I awake with a cheesy grin knowing today, today will be a good day. Someone, Somewhere will be squeegeeless and I can help their cause. I get a lot of satisfaction from this and that is why I enjoy working at WPS.”

How can I print light designs on a dark garment – All about discharge inks.

I want to print light on dark?

I want a soft touch?

What is a discharge ink?

Here at Wicked Printing Stuff we don’t expect you to know everything and we are happy to explain things. Have you checked out our FREE buyers guide there is lots in there for the Rookie, Intermediate and Professional. Please give us a ring and explain your problem and we will help out. Lastly there are our training courses, designed again for both rookie and advanced printers with basic training or advanced courses.

So back to the problem. You want to print a light colour on a dark garment and you want it to feel soft. Now plastisol inks wrap colour AROUND the threads but gives a rubbery feel (also referred to as hand) but is bright. So ideally you want a water based ink. For those of you that have tried this and I can hear you shouting at the back, but I have tried waterbased inks and I just can’t get a good opaque print, that’s why I use plastisol. Well that’s where the discharge inks come in!

Punk Rockers

For the punk rockers out there, remember how you got that bright green hair, that is right you had to bleach out your own hair colour first so the back ground colour was white, only then the colour would take and be vibrant and striking. It is almost the same in screen printing but we use discharge inks that need curing. The discharge ink actually removes the dye.

First off you have to have the right garment fabric, it has to be 100% cotton and it has to be dyed with a dischargeable dye. So check with the manufacturer. If the garment is a mixture of cotton and polyester only the cotton will discharge. Now that might actually suit you but you would need to do a trial run to make sure you get the effect you want.

Discharge InksSo having got the right garment now we need the right ink. There are a lot out there and some are more complicated to use than others.

Water based dischargeable inks are the easiest and most eco friendly ones to use. The process works during curing when the discharge removes the original dye and the ink gives the new colour. To do this you add activator to the ink which ensures you get an intense colour.

At Wicked Printing Stuff we have researched the products extensively and as a consequence we recommend the following ink Unico  The ink has been developed to meet the most recent ecological requirements. We also supply the Rutland Best of Brands discharge ink which works with both the Unico and the Union activator. Additionally we offer Union plasticharge which is a great way of using existing plastisol inks you may have and turning them into a discharge ink.

For the discharge process to work, you do need a tunnel dryer (the longer the better) – typically 90-120 seconds dwell time is needed for a good cure. You can also use a heat press which is great for low production. You also need well ventilated premises and printers should read the MSDS and be aware of any health and safety consideration.
We would be delighted to talk you through this if you have any questions, please contact us.

Wicked Tip – Comparing Curing Technologies

Top Tip to Save Money

Low volume production can double up two process on one piece of equipment. A flash dryer or a hand curer can be used for drying between colours AND curing.

It can be difficult deciding what equipment to buy for flash drying and curing your prints. We know that your budget can also dictate what type of curing equipment you have. So to help you decide, we put together a quick guide to what works and what doesn’t when flash drying and curing your prints.

Starting at the top is the lowest cost option right through to the higher end of heat presses and tunnel dryers. Although the entry level range for these machines can be extremely cost effective.

Curing Technologies

Mesh Count – Which one?

Which Mesh Count Should I Use?

We get lots of questions about mesh count, below are just two from our FAQ’s and on our free Buyers Guide we go into more detail.

Getting the right mesh count is like getting the right squeegee and the right ink for the job in hand. These are ALL really important and make the difference to your finished product. Remember what you are trying to do is push the ink through the mesh on to the substrate. So the wrong mesh will result in too much or too little ink getting through. Not good. A very detailed design on a coarse mesh won’t work either. Check out our range of screens and mesh.

If you ever want advice on which one to buy please contact us. we will be more than happy to talk you through it.

Guide to Mesh Count

 

Count Type Ideal Uses
10t coarse glitter
15t coarse glitter
21t coarse glitter
32t textile maximum opacity on dark fabrics
43t textile bolder graphics
55t textile finer detail
61t textile finer detail
77t textile finer fabrics, halftone graphics
80t textile finer fabrics, halftone graphics
90t textile extremely light material, general graphics
110t textile extremely light material, general graphics
120t paper general process
140t paper general process
160t paper photographic detail

What is the difference between the mesh counts different meshes on the screens?

A lower number means a coarser mesh count, a higher number means a finer mesh count. You will need to select the correct mesh count for the artwork you have produced. 43T is used most commonly for general textile printing. Please note that we use the European system therefore mesh counts is threads per cm, sometimes you may see the American system being used which is threads per inch.Read our online buyers guide – page 15 for a breakdown of each count and their ideal use.

What is the difference between Yellow and White mesh?

Generally speaking there is very little difference in the performance of the mesh unless you are using 90T upwards. Yellow mesh absorbs more light and stops light scattering, this helps expose those very fine lines and intricate details. We use Italian mesh yellow and white, they are great for fine halftones with high resolution and has the greatest possible exposure latitude with unsurpassed protection against light-undercutting.

via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.

 Which Mesh Count?

Once you have selected your screen you will need to select a mesh count. The mesh count will depend what substrate you are printing onto, what ink you are printing with and how detailed your artwork is. The mesh counts range from 15t which would be used for glitter printing, or highly absorbent surfaces, to a 200t which would be used for extremely fine and intricate lines, hand drawing and photographic work. The most popular textile mesh count for either Waterbased or Ink is between 32t and 65t, and a mesh 77t / 90t upwards would be advised for paper and card printing with a water based ink. FROM OUR FREE BUYERS GUIDE

After I wash my shirts a few times, the ink starts to come off.

After I wash my shirts a few times, the ink starts to come off.

Wicked_poster_step6This means that you have not cured your garment correctly. Plastisol inks need to be heated to a pre-determined temperature for a certain duration of time, usually somewhere between 45-60 seconds. This would be to either to flash dry or to use a conveyor dryer. Different inks, or special garments may need their timing fine tuned. The temperature and times will vary some job to job, so always do a wash test. A great way to test to see if the ink is cured or not is to pull on the t-shirt. If the ink sticks together like plastic or rubber, then it is cured. However if it cracks and you can see the t-shirt under it, you need to increase your curing time. via Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – FAQs.

Wicked Printing Stuff, Product Safety Sheets

When using products PLEASE check the safety sheets, here is the link.

Wicked Printing Stuff, your home for screen printing equipment and supplies – Links.

Here you will find a link to all of our product data safety sheets for our inks and solvents that we supply. Please make time to read this and familiarise yourself with the information contained within these documents before you use the products.

Barrier Clear –  Product Data Safety Sheet

Capillary Film – Product Data Safety Sheet

Catalysed Hardeners – Product Data Safety Sheet

Catalysed Inks – Product Data Safety Sheet

Cotton White – Product Data Safety Sheet

Curable Reducer – Product Data Safety Sheet

Mixe Mixopake Ink – Product Data Safety Sheet

Pade Maxopake Ink – Product Data Safety Sheet

Diamond White – Product Data Safety Sheet

Gloss Vinyl Inks – Product Data Safety Sheet

Gloss Vinyl Thinner – Product Data Safety Sheet

Gold Shimmer – Product Data Safety Sheet

Haze Paste Remover – Product Data Safety Sheet

Hi Tak Spray – Product Data Safety Sheet

Matt Vinyl Ink – Product Data Safety Sheet

Matt Vinyl Thinner – Product Data Safety Sheet

Mercury Gloss Ink – Product Data Safety Sheet

Nylobond additive – Product Data Safety Sheet

Nylonbag  Polycure catalyst – Product Data Safety Sheet

Nylonbag Ink – Product Data Safety Sheet

Nylonbag Thinners – Product Data Safety Sheet

Process Colours – Product Data Safety Sheet

Puff Additive – Product Data Safety Sheet

Catalysed Thinner – Product Data Safety Sheet

R55 Thinner – Product Data Safety Sheet

R56 Thinner – Product Data Safety Sheet

Roll On Platen Adhesive – Product Data Safety Sheet

Satin Jet Inks – Product Data Safety Sheet

Screen Filler Blue – Product Data Safety Sheet

Screen Filler Red – Product Data Safety Sheet

Screen Wash High Strength – Product Data Safety Sheet

Silver Glitter – Product Data Safety Sheet

Spot Cleaner- Product Data Safety Sheet

Stencil Strip – Product Data Safety Sheet

Suede Additive – Product Data Safety Sheet

Ulano Dual Cure Emulsion – Product Data Safety Sheet

Ulano Water Resistant Emulsion- Product Data Safety Sheet

Waterbased Ink Catalyst – Product Data Safety Sheet

Waterbased Ink Retarder – Product Data Safety Sheet

Waterbased Ink – Product Data Safety Sheet

Dummies Guide to Screen Printing | Wicked Printing Stuff

Dummies Guide to Screen Printing We talk to a lot of people who want to start screen printing but are not quite sure of the process and what’s really involved. So we thought we would write a high level process overview, to give you a little insight into how to get started. If you are a hobbyist, artist or commercial printer, the processes are pretty similar. We are going to work through the process of taking a blank garment to producing a garment with a printed logo………………..more details

via Dummies Guide to Screen Printing | Wicked Printing Stuff.

Proper cleaning preserves your screens Part 5

Screen cleaning&reclaim

The exorcist – how to get rid of ghosting on your screens

When you have finished your screen print run there are a number of next steps.

If you plan to use the design again then you need to wash the screen down. This will remove the ink from the screen but leave the exposed image. If your ink is water based a simple hose down is sufficient but a solvent ink will need screen wash. Make sure to use the right process for the ink involved.

‘Reclaiming’ is the act of striping the stencil from your screen in order to create a new stencil and start the printing process over again. If you are not going to print a design any more it’s time to reclaim your screen so that you can use them for something new.

Remove all tape from the mesh. Apply stencil strip with a cloth to both sides of the screen. Using a power washer to clean the screen thoroughly on both sides. Your screen is ready for reuse.

If there is still an image left on the screen this is called ‘ghosting’, this is an example of a screen with ghosting.

10609197_10152179703245146_1114505582_n

If there is any ghosting of the screen you can use a ghost remover / haze paste to remove them.

Haze Paste remover is a great solution if you have any ghosting left on your screen which is common when using waterbased inks as they dye the mesh.  Our range includes the premium MacDermid Autohaze will deals with the most stubborn stains.

The finished  screen after using this product  Haze Paste..

10609197_10152179703250146_603833304_n